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Information Week: Rivals Turn To Hosting To Break Microsoft's Market Grip

May 30, 2000, 15:31 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Charles Waltner)

"Sun isn't the only vendor looking at hosting as a way to break Microsoft's grip on the desktop-office suite market. Corel has inked deals with several ASPs, and Lotus is a few months away from disclosing details of its ASP strategy-even though the vendor doesn't think larger companies are ready to adopt the model, says Penny Scharfman, group manager for SmartSuite. "But we're keeping an eye on it," she says."

"Giga Information Group estimates that large companies won't adopt the ASP model significantly until 2005. But Giga analyst Rob Enderle agrees that the development of ASPs could provide an opening for desktop-suite vendors to challenge Microsoft's reign. "As you change the dynamics, it's a chance for vendors to take to take market share," he says."

"Enderle says ThinkFree.com Corp., an ASP that offers access to its product online or offline, might prove most successful. ThinkFree.com's software caches on the user's computer; users log on to download repair patches and updates. The vendor, which launched in February, doesn't claim any paying customers-revenue comes from ad sales-but its product is being tested by 100,000 consumer and small-business users."

"Rhie doesn't consider ThinkFree.com a replacement for Office, but says its role will be much like Hotmail's and other Internet E-mail services: ThinkFree.com will provide an easy way for mobile employees to access their own desktop productivity applications from any computer, without any special configurations. The program is written in Java and works with Windows and Linux operating systems."

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